November 20th, 2012  |  Leave a comment

The Finola Hughes and Tristan Rogers Interview – General Hospital

Photo Credit: K. Hutchins/ABC

Since executive producer Frank Valentini, and head writer Ron Carlivati came aboard General Hospital, they promised plenty of excitement and big returns!  And boy, have they delivered on those promises, ten fold!  Just take a look at how these blasts from the pasts, and returns from the dead, are comprising the most intriguing and thrilling story right now on soaps today!

First, Daytime Emmy-winner Finola Hughes (Anna) is brought back and then put on contract.  And, with that came the revamped story, which instead of having fan favorite Kimberly McCullough as Robin Scorpio truly dying on-screen, instead the actress’ exit has fueled a far more clever and far-reaching tale.  This latest part of the saga features the return of several men from Anna’s past, some of whom were believed to be dead including; super villain Cesar Faison, and Anna’s great love, Duke Lavery!  But then came the news that super fan-favorite Tristan Rogers was also reprising his role as Robert Scorpio.  As viewers have seen he has just come to Port Charles to warn Anna that things are not what they seem.  Will he get to Anna before it’s too late?  Before Faison harms her?  Before anything happens to the real Duke and Robert and Anna’s very-much-alive daughter, Robin?

On-Air On-Soaps sat down together with Finola Hughes and Tristan Rogers for this fascinating, insightful, and playful conversation … which had us trying to figure out where this huge story is eventually going to go, what the payoff will be, and who will be left standing and who won’t?  One thing that is for sure, Robert and Anna have a very special relationship on-screen that soap fans have loved and clamored to watch for decades!  And, when Finola and Tristan are together on-screen it is, and has always been, just pure enjoyable magic!  Here now is our chat with this dynamic duo of any decade!

Listen to the audio:

Play

MICHAEL:

So this is like old times!  I haven’t had sat down with the two of you at the same time for quite a long time.  Do you two even remember the last time you really had a lot of scenes together? 

FINOLA:

Courtesy/ABC

Since GH: Night Shift?

TRISTAN:

No, wasn’t it at Robin’s wedding?

FINOLA:

What wedding?  (Laughs)   I am surprised that Tristan remembers.  I think sometimes that Tristan’s life is like a blur! (Laughs)

TRISTAN:

Actually, I am a lot better than you think.  (Laughs)  It’s more quantity than the quality.  You are constantly racking stuff through at such a rate.  I mean this show had always been fast, and the concept of daytime has always been fast, but now it’s the speed of light in which we work in daytime.  Now you don’t even have time to stand back and look at what you have just done, because you are already half way into the next scene.

FINOLA:

I think that is rather good, actually.  I really hate going over stuff, because I don’t like watching myself and revisiting anything.  I would just prefer to keep moving.

MICHAEL:

So when it’s done, it’s done for you?  Even when people would say to you, “Finola, you have to go back and watch this great performance of yours?”

FINOLA:

No, I can’t.   I have never done it, ever.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Let’s clear the air here for some viewers that may have been confused. Does Robert know that when Luke sent him away on the wild goose chase to find his “son” Ethan, that Ethan is really Luke and Holly’s bio-son?

TRISTAN:

30% of this story takes place off-camera.

FINOLA:

Luke and Robert have come clean with each other about everything.

TRISTAN:

We have made up and there are no issues, or the Anna thing. 

FINOLA:

We deal with it on-camera, he lets it slip!

TRISTAN:

I have this line where I say, “Look, I am aware of the Luke/Anna thing.  I was always hoping she could do a lot better!”  I say it to Tracy! (Laughs)  And she looks at me with this cock-eyed look, and then moves on to another subject.

FINOLA:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

That’s funny! (Laughs) Especially with Tracy.  That’s fantastic!

MICHAEL:

Does Robert deep down truly love Anna?  What is the real deal here?  We all loved Robert and Anna and we all thought they were supposed to be the couple to root for.  Then Duke came into the picture, back in the day, and then it went all over the place!

FINOLA:

I think the best place Robert and Anna’s relationship was dealt with was on GH: Night Shift.

TRISTAN:

That defined their relationship completely.  Here is a guy dying of cancer, his best friend at this point comes back and helps him through it.  And right at the end, she says to him, “I always thought when I hung up my hat, it would be you and I at the beach together.”

FINOLA:

I think that is the defining line in their relationship, I really do.  There was a line that was written and it said, “I always saw us on the beach with Mai Tai’s right at the end of the game.”   And, there is another line that I said which was, “I don’t know how I can go through life without knowing that Robert is out there somewhere in the world.  Even if we are not together, just knowing that he is out there somewhere in the world and he has my back …”   I think you can take this to its sort of logical conclusion about two operatives who are out working in the field, and we are allowed to play that game out.  We just did some scenes which are sort of like being operatives in the field going over stuff, and that’s the sort of deal you make with the devil, if you like, that it is almost impossible to have a relationship.  But if you just know that each of you is still alive, and nobody “got” you yet, that is what is important.  Tristan has line to me as Robert that will play out soon where he says, “You have been compromised.”  That is such a fantastic way to make a fellow operative sort of “snap-too”.  It’s saying, “It’s not your fault. You have been out there and now you have been compromised.”   That is the sort of message that you hope would get through to you somewhere in the field.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

So then, do you think there is undying love between Robert and Anna, and they are each other’s end game?  Or, is it now just mutual admiration and respect they hold in their hearts for each other?

TRISTAN:

You have to go back to when we both started on the show in 1984.

FINOLA:

The mess … (Laughs)

TRISTAN:

…  And that back-story where they got married, and had the romance, and then he discovers that she is a double agent.  Robert then divorces her, and so that is the end of the relationship.  Moving ahead to Port Charles, she comes back on and there is no romance at all.  It’s then doing a job, and then the child comes into it, and Robin changes it all.   Suddenly, he is a father, something he never anticipated in his life before, and he has got this ex-wife.  So for Robert, it becomes this enormous concern for her and the child, and that is how it evolved and developed.  Robert and Anna went into business and became Private I’s together.  They started to work together, but there again there was not any romance involved.  Next, Duke Lavery comes around, and Robert’s only problem with Lavery was, one: he was a criminal, and two: what happens if she marries him and he is the stepfather to my kid?  Those were the things that he was concerned about, not Duke’s character!  And I might add, not the fact that she was having a relationship with him, and Robert was not jealous.  That has all been created by the media and the public.

FINOLA:

I think too, that Robert would not be jealous, because if you have as much freedom as these people do, there is a definite adult relationship, if there is such a thing.  It’s like, you know, “If I want you, I have to set you free.”   I think that is a very sophisticated outlook.  I do feel that there is a great scene in the movie Heat.  There is an amazing on-screen relationship played out between Al Pacino and Robert Deniro.  One is a criminal, and one is cop, but there is this respect for each other and what they can achieve and the way that they think.  They are both super intelligent in different ways … one within the criminal world, and one with in the legit world.  I think when Robert Scorpio discovered that Anna was a double agent I think he was disgusted, because he was an upholder of the law.  He thought Anna was right there with him riding the white horse.  But then, there is also that he respected the cleverness of that, and the fact that there is the daringness of that, and the fact that she stuck herself out on a limb, and look at what she went through and into.  So there is this mutual respect between the two of them, no matter how it goes.

TRISTAN:

Courtesy/ABC

They have always interfered in each other’s life in a really nice way and in a very concerned way.  She fussed over him and he fussed over her.  But, he never crossed a certain line.  There was a certain line he knew he could not cross with her.

MICHAEL:

I, and the fans, wanted Robert to be there for Anna more when Robin “died”.  Fans were missing that, but instead he ran off to find Ethan, which was Luke’s way of helping Robert with grieving the loss of his daughter.  Now Robert has come back to Port Charles, to what it appears to be, to save Anna.  However, I have read some reports that have said that he does not come back as the same old Robert.

TRISTAN:

No, not really.  It’s the way it was originally written.  Robert is dancing on the dark side here.  The reason for that is all the original scenes that you see were all written for Luke, but Tony Geary (Luke) was unavailable to do them.  So they took “Luke” off the script and wrote “Robert”.  And along the way, there is a style and methodology that he goes about, which is not Robert.

FINOLA:

But it is very Robert-like to come and interfere.

TRISTAN:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Oh yes.  He is definitely concerned about Anna.  Luke told Robert, “Look, I am doing this, so you better go back to Port Charles and take care of what is going on there.”  So Robert comes back knowing that somehow Lavery is involved, but at first he does not know Faison is involved, but he knows Lavery is involved!  The problem he has is: The guy is dead.  He died in front of me.  I saw him die.  He is as dead as they come, and they don’t come any deader!  And he is fighting with himself going, “What has happened here?  How can he be involved?”  But he knows the pull and the effect Lavery has on Anna, and so that’s what makes him conflicted.

MICHAEL:

But he is still going to be a good Robert?  You’re not going to turn out to be a bad Robert, like the bad “Duke”? (Laughs)

FINOLA:

No, no. no.  I think you have to have some people you can trust.  Anna does say to Robert, “Your methods were always questionable,” which I loved because it’s true, as long as he got the man, or captured the bad guy, that is what was important.

TRISTAN:

Robert never broke the law; he just bent it a bit, that’s all.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

It’s amazing how Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati have evolved Robin’s “death” story, which has been the impetus for all these amazing returns or blasts from the past.  And now Finola, you are one of the leading ladies of the show once again!  And all these men that are coming back are in love with Anna, in one way or another.  You have had all these terrific actors to work with recently … Anders Hove (Faison), Ian Buchanan (Duke), Tony Geary, and Tristan!

FINOLA:

It’s an embarrassment of riches, actually.

TRISTAN:

That is a nice way of putting it!

FINOLA:

I get to get up on set and work with these guys!  Tristan and I just had six scenes this morning and they were very convoluted.  I was nervous about them, because they were very well written.  And that almost makes you more nervous where you think to yourself, “Well, if I screw this up, it’s all my fault.  I have to come up to the level of what I have been given to play here.”   It was cleverly done, because it was two minds working at something and telling a story, but also telling a story about how they feel about everything that has occurred.  But I came in and thought, “You know, it’s me and Tristan.”   So I know when I get out there, he will have my back.  Tristan will whisper things in my ear, and we go and we are off.   It’s like entering a ring with someone, and I find it incredibly exciting.  And then I had Ian Buchanan come back to the show, and we have been friends for 26 years!  As soon as we started to work together it was interesting. That relationship I could not enter into, as I sometimes say to Tristan, “The well worn shoe” because of the circumstances that we are dealing with, and how that story is going to play out.  So that was tricky.  But for us to work together again is exciting!

TRISTAN:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

There is a lot of history here between us.  That is great to have as a crutch you can pull out of the woodwork, and constantly throw in the mix that is not in the writing, because the writers may not be aware of all of it.

MICHAEL:

Tristan, are you back to stay for awhile on General Hospital?

TRISTAN:

I really don’t know.  I have been told many things, but what I can say is the future looks optimistic.

FINOLA:

I will always remember the first day I worked with Tristan, way back in the 1900’s! (Laughs)  It was black and white television and my hair was even bigger!

MICHAEL:

Big hair!  Here we go! (Laughs)

FINOLA:

Such big hair and so much make-up!  When I first worked with Tristan he looked like Steve McQueen.  His hair was short then and it looked very good.  I like Tristan’s hair short like this now, too.  So the first day, as we are walking away from the set, Tristan puts his arm around me and says, “We are going to have a lot of fun, kid!”  And we did, and we are, and we do.

MICHAEL:

When Robin “died” it was awful to watch for the audience, but amazing to see the performances.  Were those scenes hard for each of you to play?  You both had such memorable, Emmy-worthy work from the beginnings of this story.

TRISTAN:

Courtesy/Tumblr

No, it was not hard to play, actually.  I had a lot to draw on, and a lot of history.  You bring out things in your own personal life you can throw out there, and then all of a sudden it just happens.

FINOLA:

For me, when Robert was in the morgue that broke me.  Tristan was wonderful in those scenes.  You know, Kimberly is kind of like our little girl.

TRISTAN:

She was six or seven when she started.  We consciously set out to create a cool environment for her, and it did not always work out that way…

FINOLA:

… But she made a ton of money off of us.

TRISTAN:

Yes, a ton!  She had a jar and you had to put a quarter in it every time you said a bad word.  Now, I would give her 20 bucks and say, “Now, when it’s used up, come back to me!” (Laughs)

FINOLA:

Courtesy/ABC

Now when we have the little girls up on set, you really have to make a conscious effort, because it’s not fair for a kid to bring them into an environment that is not comfortable for them.  You want the parents to know they can trust you, and that was very important to us.  Susan McCullough, Kimberly’s mom, trusted us.  You have to take that seriously. I have worked a lot with kids in my career.  It is absolutely your responsibility, because the kids are walking into an adult situation, and it can be toxic.  Some sets can be very toxic, and ours was not.

TRISTAN:

I think we created something really nice, and it was almost like a real family.  We would sit down and run lines with Kimberly and we always made it fun, that way, we could get her to open up and to add things.

FINOLA:

Kimberly’s audition was improvised, because we needed to find a kid who could do that, but then again, when you look at her performances, she is not acting at all, she is completely natural.  It is really quite something what she achieved as a little girl.

MICHAEL:

Tristan, will we see you in upcoming scenes with Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers) again?

TRISTAN:

Yes.  I have a number of scenes with her.  Constance has this demeanor which every line you say, she can just give you a look and she trumps you! (Laughs)

FINOLA:

Courtesy/ABC

It is going to be a wild ride!  This is a crazy story right here.  I am not kidding.

TRISTAN:

And the finale is absolutely incredible!

MICHAEL:

What did you both think when you saw these jaw-dropping scripts? Did you think, “How the hell are we going to pull this off?”

FINOLA:

It’s our job to be the instrument of the illusion for the audience, and to have you go with us to the land, or that place, as realistically as possible.   It’s very Mission Impossible!

TRISTAN:

Yes, I agree.  We are out there completely, and you have the history with the characters, of where you have been together in the past, how you have reacted with one another in the past, within certain circumstances.  This all of a sudden bubbles to the surface. You don’t have to think about it, it’s second nature.

MICHAEL:

Will Casey, the alien, be coming back too for this massive story? (Laughs)

TRISTAN:

I would like to bring him back.  Everyone hates that story, but I loved that story!  It was so stupid, that it was terrific.  (Laughs)  I thought, it was really a gutsy thing to do.  Finola had the brunt of the story!  I was incredulous, when you came to me and I said, “You are going to tell me about WHO?  And he is WHAT?  From WHERE?”  (Laughs)

FINOLA:

Courtesy/ABC

He was from Lumina! (Laughs) And, what I remember the most was that I had to teach him about sex!

TRISTAN:

Ah, yes!  Now I remember that.  I don’t think he is coming back, but I am not going to rule anything out.  However, I think it’s a long shot at this point.  (Laughs)

FINOLA:

All I can say here is …. with what we do have going on …. fasten your safety belts, kids!

  1. Cathy says:

    Love Anna and Robert. Now let’s get Robin back and make it perfect. I want to see Robin with her parents, Patrick and Emma again.

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    So do I ……….

    Reply

  2. Carlee says:

    Robert Scorpio belongs on this show permanently. This character is the one of the most iconic characters this show ever had. I hope the producers and the writers see that and offer Tristan Rogers a contract.

    Reply

    anna freeman replied

    Couldn’t agree more!……we need more Tristan.

    Reply

    Sassy replied

    Yea, I 2nd this motion we need more Tristan and signed him to a forever contract. He make everything feels right. I love Robert and Anna working, bringing down the bad guys..They’re at their best doing that and being best friends forever..They had the most unique friendship in any soap, far better than any romance out there or any one either one ever had.‏ Robert and Anna could be in scenes talking over a case and Id find them fascinating.

    Tim Streitz replied

    When you think of General Hospital, you think of either Tony Geary or Tristan Rogers. Like Luke, Robert Scorpio should always be on General Hospital. He is the reason I am watching again, and I like to see Kristina Wagner when she is on. She should be on more also.

    Reply

    heidi replied

    Me too! I will keep hoping!

    Reply

    annie replied

    I agree. Tristan Rogers needs to be put on contract. I love Robert and Anna. They having amazing chemistry as co-operatives, co-parents, friends, and romantic partners. They really can do it all. Plus Robert has more connections on the canvas at this point then either Luke or Duke. Anna and Robert are just endgame for me.

    Reply

  3. susan M. says:

    Alway’s liked Anna & Robert together….Funny & loving and serious !

    Reply

  4. soulmates says:

    gh please reunite anna and robert they are one of gh supercouple of all time

    Reply

    heidi replied

    Agreed!!!

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    I totally agree.

    Reply

    annie replied

    Agree. I enjoyed each with their other relationships, but really Anna and Robert have so much history. They are just endgame.

    Reply

    Kaylin replied

    Definitely agree!

  5. heidi says:

    Thank you so much Michael!!! Great interview and love those two! Thank you so much for the audio… we got so much more with it! So miss your video interviews too! I would love to see them work together for years to come! Love to see them on that beach some day… maybe as a dream!

    Reply

  6. MBmomof3 says:

    Thank you, Mr. Fairman for yet another great interview! You conduct the best interviews in the daytime drama industry in my opinion and I’ve been a lifetime fan. Keep up the great work.

    Reply

  7. maddiehayes says:

    I couldn’t be more thrilled! Anna, Robert, Duke and Faison! Can’t believe this story was originally written for Luke. ROBERT is the man Anna has the history with, Robert is the man who has always come to her rescue. Sick and tired of Luke trying to take Robert’s rightful place in her life. He needs to go make things up with Laura. As for Tristan saying that Robert was never jealous of Duke, that was the media and the fans who made that up, I suggest he go back and watch some scenes from the summer of 2007, because Robert OBVIOUSLY wanted Anna back then .. in the cabin, when he was hinting BROADLY that he was interested, and in the morning she made him the “Great American Breakfast”. Anna&Robert shine as friends and colleagues, AND as lovers! They are one of my all-time favorite GH couples.

    Reply

  8. Doe says:

    Great audio interview, Michael. You just get better and better with these interviews. I’m so pleased that you wer able to get Fiona and Tristan to do this. I also read along as they were speaking.These two actors are terrific and it would be nice if the PSTB keep them on..I do believe there will be a powerful reckoning ending. And hopefully, everyone will be where they are supposed to be. Realy liked this interview with Fiona and Tristan.They are fun!……

    Reply

  9. lizzie says:

    Robert and Anna always. True

    Reply

  10. Canary says:

    I stopped watching when Robert died in 1992. I started watching when he came back in 2006. But I stopped watching because they turned Robert into a whimp when Alcazar had him beaten up. I stopped watching. Then I watched when he came to NIGHT SHIFT. The dream sequence was GH at its best.

    Now…he is back. And if he leaves again, and it becomes the idotic SONNY SHOW again, I will leave to…

    Tristan needs to become a regular!

    Reply

  11. nancy dillingham says:

    What a great interview! Yes, Tristan needs a contract; he belongs on the show with Finola always–who has better chemistry? And they were always so natural together–great actors, both of them. I love the twinkle in Tristan’s eye! Now we have two top-notch actors with fantastic chemistry–what more does a show need to succeed like gangbusters? Just one more thing would actually be great–bringing Genie Francis back. She is a luminous actor, a great improvisor–and I love her raised eyebrow and laughter. Luke needs Laura like Anna needs Robert

    Reply

    annie replied

    So true. Luke and Laura. Robert and Anna.

    Reply

  12. ray schichtel says:

    I’m the biggest Robert/ Anna fan. I’ve watched Robert from.the beginning when he wasn’t suppose to have a role lasting but a few days! He and Anna have always had each other’s back, like they said and it’s comforting seeing them on screen together again.

    Reply

  13. DomSmythe says:

    FANTASTIC interview. the scorpio-devanes are classic daytime, and kimberly mccullough is the greatest child actor daytime has ever seen.

    Reply

    Kaylin replied

    Completely Agree.

    Reply

  14. janet says:

    great interview. great to have Anna And Robert back. He needs to staqy. the mob can go and free up some money to keep them. GH becames as great as it was before the mob. So the way they are writing it now it can return.
    Anna ,Robert and Kim would be great.The extended family Patrick,Emma and . mac and Felicia also. The nurses ball/.
    I can’t believe I am actually watching GH with a smile on my face,instead of the remote in my hand to FF or just shut it off.
    RC needs a pat on the back for this.he has brought the show back almost to its former glory. Just get rid of the mob!

    Reply

  15. Dale says:

    I am bothered bye them not allowing Robert and Anna be together the end game back in 91 she proclaimed her love for him as being stronger then Dukes people seem to forget that she lost part of her self and finally got it back. I think its a shame the writers are throwing away Anna love of her life please the women stay loyal to Robert for 6 years after he left her no women does that today period!

    Reply

  16. susan M. says:

    I read ABC Soaps in depth and it said Lucy Coe will be coming to Port Charles on Dec.14…In time for the Hospital ball……………..Isn’t that good news!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  17. Christy says:

    I love these interviews!

    Reply

  18. aria says:

    oh god i love them, they are so awesome.

    Reply

  19. allardclaudine says:

    gh in tristan rogers ..I am a big of robert scorpio for 30 year…
    give robert a good story in a comtrac for 2013 in…stop play thumb…robert in mac play great together..mac in robert never play a long aventure..so writter…it time…get robert a contrac….now… a fan of gh…

    claudine from ..quebec..mercier..

    Reply

  20. carol says:

    keep robert gh.

    Reply

  21. Kenyona says:

    Another great interview. Bring on the emmy for Finola.

    Reply

  22. Kim says:

    What is the status of Robert Scorpio’s character on General Hospital as of April 1 2013. Are they going to bring him back. The last I heard he was in some coma and Robin was kidnapped and only Robert knows she is alive. Why does GH play this cat and mouse game with Robert Scorpio his character is so great he should be there all the time with Luke and Laura. What happened to Holly. I think it should be Luke and Laura Robert and Holly and Anna and Duke.
    G

    Reply

  23. Kim says:

    Can somebody catch me up on the plotline. I stopped watching GH after they killed off Alan Quartermaine. I have watched it on and off but with Robert,Holly,Luke and Laura and Anna and Duke just showing up occasionally it got boring. What ia going on. I know Luke is still there married to Tracy that is all I know.

    Reply

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